2012 has been a busy year on the UK human rights front, never short of controversy, hyperbole and even some interesting points of legal principle along the way.
The Human Rights Act 1998, twelve years young, has been under fairly constant attack from politicians and newspapers. Meanwhile, the HRA has been operating pretty well in the courts, with judges producing a steady stream of interesting home-grown human rights judgments. The European Court of Human Rights has produced some fascinating and controversial judgments, and has also, thanks to the UK’s presidency, signed up to some significant reforms.
Here are a few highlights from January to March – hopefully I will have time to complete the rest of the year!
Hello all, and happy holidays! 2012 has been a cracking year for the UK Human Rights Blog. As is customary, below are the top 2012 posts by hit count, but also a few of my own highlights of 2012:
After just over two and a half years in operation the blog is now achieving our aim (we hope) of informing and enhancing the human rights debate, which is no less controversial and caricatured than it was in March 2010.
The weekly Human Rights Roundups have become one of the most popular features of the blog, thanks to our fantastic updaters Daniel Isenberg, Sam Murrant and Wessen Jazrawi who moved on to other things in 2012.
In our third year we smashed one million hits and are already getting close to two million. We are regularly quoted across the media and for the first time this year, in the Northern Ireland Assembly. We are now getting close to 100,000 hits per month and are consistently ranked as the top legal blog on the ‘e-buzzing’ influence rankings.
We have over 4,000 email subscribers (just enter your email address in the box to the right to subscribe for free), over 2,000 on our Facebook fan page and 2,000+ on our @ukhumanrightsb Twitter account. You can also follow me on @adamwagner1 and my fantastic co-editors Angus McCullough QC on @amccqc and Rosalind English on @rosalindenglish.
Thank you to all of the fantastic contributors from 1 Crown Office Row (the barristers’ chambers which runs the blog) as well as guest contributors from elsewhere, who have contributed to almost 1,500 individual posts. I have taken more of a back seat editorial role this year so as to get on with my day job (I am a practising barrister, honest – you can read about me here), an arrangement which has strengthened the blog.
Thank you also to all of those who have commented on individual posts both on the blog and on Twitter, which has been particularly vibrant in legal debates this year. Some of those debates have been fantastic and they add immeasurably to the content on the blog. As always, we welcome comments on any aspect of the blog, including the refreshed design which you may have noticed in the past few days. Thank you also to the growing army of fantastic legal bloggers (see our links section on the sidebar) who regularly link to the blog in their own post.
One final reminder: all of our blog posts are categorised by legal topic and article of the European Convention on Human Rights: you can access the categories by way of the drop down menu on the right sidebar (for example family law, technology, Article 8 etc) as well as by clicking categories under individual posts. Our index of European Convention Rights is here.
Without further ado, here are the top twenty posts of 2012:
As you can probably guess, we are (and I am) thrilled at the response to UKHRB. When we launched, our aim was to provide a new voice in the always colourful but often shrill arena of human rights commentary. We felt that there was a gap in the market (as it were – the blog has been and remains free to access) for a non-ideological legal human rights update service which would be accessible to the lawyers and lay persons alike.
To celebrate, enjoy this flashy summary of 2011 on the UK Human Rights Blog, including the most viewed posts, active commenters and the geographical spread of our readers. I cannot take credit for the whizz-bang design of the summary… thanks to WordPress for thinking this up.
Looking forward to lots of exciting developments in 2012. No doubt, there will be an enormous about to blog about as usual, not least new terrorism powers, more secret evidence in courts, press freedom and Leveson, hate speech, the human rights political circus, European Court of Human Rights reform, more bad reporting about human rights, immigration and extradition, the Gibson Inquiry (will it finally get underway?), legal aid…
Personally, I’ll try to get back to more regular blogging, although in the past few months this has been difficult as I have been so busy with work (I actually do some occasionally). I have also built up a team of dedicated and reliable bloggers, which means I have moved into more of a commissioning editor-type role, which allows me to spend less time on the blog, but hopefully with no drop in service. Thank you to all of the blog’s contributors for their amazingly hard work, particularly my co-editor Rosalind English whose enthusiasm is unrelenting.
If you don’t already, please do follow me on Twitter where I provided a more regular update on human rights law and occasionally other legal stuff too. Also, if you are looking for very regular human rights law updates, and are not on Twitter, the “Recommended” sidebar on the right of the blog is updated a few times each day.
Here’s an excerpt from the review:
London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 650,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 8 sold-out events for that many people to see it.
This is a bit of a landmark for a site which launched at the end of March 2010. We had hoped that the blog would be useful for lawyers and the general public, and that it would in part compensate for some of the mischievous and misrepresentative reporting of human rights law. But we never expected it to take off in the way that it has.
It is a happy coincidence that we have reached this landmark in a week which has seen the two most important courts for UK human rights – the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights – both releasing pairs of landmark judgments in Al Rawi / Tariq, on the use of secret evidence in civil proceedings, and Al-Skeini / Al-Jedda, on where in the world the European Convention applies.
This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.